The Charlotte News
SUNDAY, JANUARY 7, 1940
Predictions For The New Year*
By W. J. Cash*
Site ed. note: (For those hardy souls who entered this site not long after it went online in late November, 1998 and have anxiously awaited with baited breath each new addition of book-page by-lined Cash articles between February and the present day of May 10, 1999, this article constitutes the last of 150 to be added to the Book-Page section, at least for awhile. All presently available Sunday editions of the book-page to which Cash would have contributed, from November, 1935 through May, 1941 have now been perused and all by-lined Cash articles culled and placed herein. But as the daily editions have not yet been checked, there may yet be other Cash by-lined editorials to be added in the coming months. Indeed, some of the Sunday editions, about 25 in all, especially several editions in 1939, 1940, and all of the Sundays during Cash's latter months with the News, March through May, 1941 are missing from the microfilm files of the Charlotte Public Library. It is thus likely that other Sunday book-page articles do exist and we shall endeavor to find any if possible. Also, the last two book reviews contained herein by Cash (culled from Southern Prophet) appeared in Wednesday and Saturday editions. Thus, it appears that the book-page may have expanded into daily editions at least in these latter months. So stay tuned. Meanwhile, we shall endeavor as quickly as possible--though it may well take another year or more--to add all of Cash's many additional non by-lined editorials from October, 1937 through May, 1941, some of which already appear here, but only a few by comparison to the whole. The magnitude of that part of the project, however, will prove time-consuming simply by the sheer volume of newsprint which will have to be first copied from microfilm and then scanned or typed. That process has begun and more such non by-lined editorials will begin appearing in June, 1999 and continue until completed. So thanks for bearing with us and happy reading and hopefully re-reading for years to come. And remember, the War and the dreadful Thirties and early Forties are long over and nothing herein is meant to disparage any modern civilized nation, state, town, or peoples, but lest we forget... As the Bard said in The Tempest, "We were all sea-swallow'd, though some cast again,/ And by that destiny to perform an act/ Whereof what's past is prologue, what to come/ In yours and my discharge.")
*This bit of fluff is probably by Cash, judging by the use of the term "Mack truck" in relation to novels--a term he used in a book review, "A Sea Island Lady" -- North Georgia Review, Spring, 1940, written shortly after this piece. Unfortunately, however, authorship is not indubitably certain as the first few paragraphs of the article, including title (here, made-up from the content), and by-line, were torn from the article before it was ever preserved on microfilm. The other logical choice would be Cam Shipp, who had also a penchant for the occasional quirky word-frame, but he was long gone to Hollywood by mid-1939 to become a publicist for the likes of James Cagney and Bette Davis--unless this was one of the pieces he mailed from the tinsel wrappings. Whoever wrote it sounds to have been in the throes still of a bit too much of New Year cheer at the moment of conception. Still could have been Cash or Shipp or, even, in collaboration therewith, Mary Ross Northrup, (presumably "MRN" of the piece), to-be Mrs. Cash. (Mary had become a regular contributor to both the book-page and the theater page of The News by spring, 1939, coincident with cousin Cam leaving and Reed Sarratt taking over as book-page editor. Often, thereafter, Cash's articles would appear next to, above, or below Mary's.)
In any event, about some of the names dropped which have long since disappeared from the average American's radar screen: Louis Bromfield was a prominent novelist of the Twenties, but lost favor with the critics when he began writing non-fiction works in the Thirties espousing the values of a farming life and denouncing materialism; Earl Browder was Communist Party candidate for the U.S. Presidency in 1936 and 1940; John O' Hara wrote many novels and short stories including Appointment in Samarra (1934), Butterfield 8 (1935), Pal Joey (1940), and Ten North Frederick (1955); "Ole Massa Woollccoott" refers to Alexander Woollcott, sometime writer, radio personality, actor and man about Manhattan who also sometimes played poker with the Marx Brothers, George S. Kaufman, and Robert Sherwood, among others, and was portrayed by the character Sheridan Whiteside in The Man Who Came to Dinner (1939). And we know about Orson Welles, Shirley Temple, Margaret Mitchell (who continued not writing a sequel which certainly should never have been written by some forgettable hack during the present decade either), and Gertrude Stein. As to the rest, ask someone older than 65 with a good memory.
The opening paragraphs cut away appear to be talking about polls and graphs which determine the predictions set forth starting with the one that there will be books written about "poor but happy girls who marry rich boys and live happily ever after and sad but pretty girls who marry poor boys but live happily ever after." And later on Christmas morning of this New Year to come, Cash would be the "poor boy" marrying a "rich girl" and...
...Each publishing house will issue not less than five Mack trucks dealing with daily lives of not less than three generations of one family.
Though there have been strangely few anti-Nazi novels, there will be still fewer. It isn't necessary for fiction writers to sweat out whole books to tell us things the factual accounts and the newspapers have been dinning into us for years.
Orson Welles and Shirley Temple will do their autobiographies. The Walter B. Pitkin theory of Genesis does not apply to modern autobiographical trends. (Note: the graph shows this quite plainly.)
Margaret Mitchell will continue not writing a sequel.
Louis Bromfield will turn out another pot boiler. It's puzzling that anybody who could write "The Farm" should turn out a product that might have come down an assembly line.
Eleanor what's-her-name, the New York (cafe) society girl whose pappy was hauled into court by her beau for imprisoning her, will be dropped from the Social Register. So will the lady who went hail for Earl Browder.
John O'Hara and Lloyd C. Douglas will collaborate on a psychological novel.
The Great American Opera will be written around Elsie Dinsmore, score by Raymond Scott, libretto, Gertrude Stein. Ole Massa Woollccoott in Box 44, and MRN in knots.
The German Blue Book for 1940 will be printed on litmus paper--maybe. And the acid test will be Finland.
Happy New Year!
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